Want to know more about the currency in Switzerland? They use the Swiss Franc (CHF), and here’s more info about ATMs, money and exchange rates before your trip.
I will also answer some of the most frequently asked questions about money and currency in Switzerland.
Quick facts about Swiss Franc (CHF)
- Name: Swiss Franc
- Year of introduction: 1850.
- Coins: 0,50, 1, 2, 5 CHF
- Subunit: 5, 10, 20 rappen
- Banknotes: 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 1000 CHF
- Abbreviations: SFr
- Currency Code: CHF
Can you pay by card in Switzerland?
Yes, both debit- and credit cards are widely accepted in Switzerland.
Should you exchange money before your trip?
It’s possible to buy Swiss francs in most western countries around the world, but there is no real reason to do so because you’ll get a better rate by taking out cash from a local ATM, or simply pay by card.
Get Revolut and avoid expensive currency exchange fees
If you’re living in Europe, I recommend to sign up for Revolut before your trip and get one of their cards. The standard card is 100% free and give you zero fees for currency exchange, and even offer free ATM withdrawal.
Exchange Currency in Switzerland
Swiss banks offer the best rates when exchanging foreign currencies. There are also other exchange bureaus in tourist areas as well as main railway stations and airports. The best currencies to take to Switzerland are Euros, and US dollars as well as the British Pound.
Remember to check the actual market rate before accepting any offer. Most banks will offer similar rates.
ATMs in Switzerland
Swiss ATMs can be found in all major cities as well as smaller towns, and they are operating 24/7. They accept all major international debit- and credit cards.
Most Swiss ATMs don’t charge a local fee, but your own bank is likely to charge about €5 + 2-3% foreign transaction fee. Luckily, this can easily be avoided by using a travel card without atm fees and currency exchange fees, such as the Revolut card.
Many ATMs near bordering countries often dispense Euro as well, but it’s much better to get the local currency – Swiss Franc. Your card will need a 4 digit PIN to take out cash in Switzerland, so if your card comes without a PIN, you need to get one before your trip.
- Always choose to be charged in the local currency without conversion.
- NEVER use a Euronet ATM in Switzerland, they charge a higher fee and give a poor exchange rate.
List of Swiss banks
Considering that Switzerland is one of the major financial centers of the world, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are many banks operating here.
Below is a list of some of the top banks in Switzerland.
- Credit Suisse
- Zurich Cantonal Bank
- Julius Baer
More about Switzerland’s Currency (CHF)
The Swiss Franc has been the currency of Switzerland since 1850. It’s also legal tender in the principality of Liechtenstein as well as Campione d’Italia. The Swiss Franc is the only European currency which is called franc.
The Swiss Currency is given out by the Swiss National Bank (Schweizerische Nationalbank/Banque Nationale Suisse/Banca Nazionale Svizzera/Banca Naziunala Svizra, SNB) which was founded in 1907 with headquarters in Bern and Zürich.
- The newly founded Swiss Confederation introduced the joint currency Franc, split into 100 rappen.
- The first banknotes were given out by the Swiss National Bank in 1907
- The Swiss Franc also became legal tender in Liechtenstein in 1924
- In 1968, the coins were no longer made with silver except the 5 franc coin from 1969
Swiss currency in various denominations
Swiss money is available in the form of coins and banknotes. Among the coins, there is also the equivalent to cents, known as rappen.
- Swiss Banknotes: 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 1000 franc
- Swiss Coins: 0,50, 1, 2, 5 franc and 5, 10, 20 rappen
Frequently Asked Questions about Money in Switzerland
The only legal tender in Switzerland is the Swiss Franc (CHF). Euros are accepted in some tourist areas, but it’s much better to pay in the local currency.
No, US dollars are not accepted as payment in Switzerland. You can however, change them at a bureaux de change or in a bank, although the exchange rate will probably not be very good.
The currency used in Basel is Swiss Franc (CHF). Many prices will be indicated in Euros, however, to make it easier for tourists to compare the price.
Yes, most exchange bureaus and banks in Western countries will sell Swiss Franc.
There is no limit on how much cash you can bring to Switzerland, and you don’t need to declare them upon arrival or departure.
Tipping is not customary in Switzerland, and the service fees are already included in the price. With that said, you could round up bills in restaurants, taxis, etc.
Why doesn’t Switzerland use the euro?
Switzerland is not a member of the European Union and is therefore not obligated to use the Euro. The Swiss Franc is also one of the major currencies in the world, and it has remained strong for many years.
Prices are however sometimes quoted in Euros in tourist areas to make it easier for tourists to compare prices and see how much products and services cost. Payments are always made in Swiss Franc though.
Do you have more questions about the currency in Switzerland? Leave a comment below!